German-Turkish Week 2009

German-Turkish Week 2009 aims to raise awareness amongst the German public of the history and development of the German-Turkish Community and its contributions to German society, while celebrating the richness of German-Turkish culture.

With an estimated 3 million residents, the German-Turkish Community represents the largest minority of migrants in Germany. Throughout the last 50 years, this diverse community has become a vital component of German society. While the integration of the German-Turkish Community is a much discussed topic within Germany, there is little doubt that the Community is contributing to a positive image of a diverse Germany abroad. Imagine cosmopolitan Berlin without little Istanbul? Despite the challenges, people of Turkish background are present in German society on many levels today. This series represents the opportunity to recognize these individuals and consider their influence as role-models.

The main themes of the week will include the barriers overcome by people of Turkish background, the challenges that remain, the role of the German-Turkish Community in German society, and hopes for the future. The stories of key individuals from the fields of politics, business, media, civil society, academia, and the arts will provide insights into the past, present and future of the community.

Vural Öger
Member of European Parliament

Brussels, 5 March 2009

Welcome by Vural ÖGER (MEP) for GERMANY MEETS TURKEY 2009
Dear young leaders, dear friends, dear Mr. Donfried,

One of the most important challenges facing the Federal Republic of Germany today is the need to strengthen understanding and trust with our partner and friend Turkey. In seeking to achieve this goal it is important that we embrace the younger generations, the leaders of tomorrow, in both countries. These are the individuals who will play such an important role in the future, and the German-Turkish relationship rests in their hands.

In achieving this important mission, the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy and their program “Germany Meets Turkey: A Forum for Young Leaders” represent a unique example of what is being done, and what is possible. I have followed their work for a number of years and am excited by the prospect of young Germans and Turks developing links at early stages in their careers that will then develop, just as they do. Through this program a number of leadership initiatives have already begun that promise to reach the furthest corners of civil society and build bridges at all levels.

It is therefore an honor to welcome you at the launch of German-Turkish Week 2009 in the Amerika Haus Berlin, an event which promises to bring Germany and Turkey closer together by reflecting upon and celebrating the influence of the German-Turkish Community. I hope that this series can develop into an annual tradition that will generate further activity in this area, and I wish you all an enjoyable and informative experience.


Vural Öger
Member of European Parliament